After smashing box office records this summer, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie has now arrived on streaming service Max with an important new feature: the ability to view the hit film with an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter.
In a statement, Max said: “Grounded in research and feedback from the Deaf community, as well as counsel from community leaders, Barbie with ASL was produced for Max featuring ASL performer Leila Hanaumi.”
Hanaumi is an accomplished ASL interpreter, whose previous work includes Deaf Austin Theatre’s The Laramie Project and an ASL cover for Tove Lo’s “True Romance” music video.
“It’s more than just a movie. It is a cultural phenomenon,” Hanaumi told IndieWire through an interpreter.
“The fact that this movie is being made accessible in ASL shows the deaf community, we’re part of this conversation. We are not left out of the conversation like we usually have been in history before. We are part of this process, not as an afterthought.”
Hanaumi also revealed that she devised a way to sign the compound word “Kenough”, which appears on Ken’s (Ryan Gosling) sweater. She uses the traditional ASL sign for “enough” (making a fist with one hand and brushing the palm of the other hand on top of it) but makes her hand into a “K” rather than using a flat palm.
On social media, Barbie fans reacted with delight to the new feature, and to Hanaumi’s impressive performance.
On X/Twitter, one user wrote: “Watching Barbie on HBO and they have an absolutely iconic ASL performer! Love this so much!”
While another added: “You haven’t seen Barbie until you’ve seen Barbie (with ASL). This version was created for MAX and the on screen signing performance by Leila Hanaumi is just amazing.”
Earlier this week, Barbie co-writers Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach married in New York after more than a decade of dating.
Gerwig, 40, and Baumbach, 54, first met in 2010 while filming the romantic comedy-drama Greenberg, which Baumbach directed and Gerwig co-starred alongside Ben Stiller. The pair didn’t begin dating until one year later after Baumbach divorced his then-wife, Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Now, the Barbie director and the Marriage Story filmmaker share two children: a son Harold, born in 2019, and a second son born this year. Baumbach is also a father to 12-year-old son Rohmer, who he shares with his ex-wife.
The Independent named Barbie among its top 15 films of 2023. Read the full list here.